Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gilgamesh, etc. off to Big D!

As I was packing up all these pieces for the shows in Dallas, I suddenly decided to let the Gilgamesh rolling pin make some cookies before he got stuck in a box. With a real rolling pin I rolled out some slabs of porcelain and then used "Gilgamesh Repeating Himself" to do just that...repeat himself. It was quite a thrill to see little Mesopotamian warriors, griffins, Trees of Life, etc. unroll into the clay. I used about two-thirds of a bag of Grolleg porcelain making these slabs that look like cartoon versions of ancient Sumerian roller seals.

Meanwhile, other pieces needed small repairs before packing. Feeney the monkey from "Monkey Mind Marriage" got a facelift. Not really. Her wedding veil broke a long time ago and I had to fix it up.

Ha! These slabs look like the Rosetta Stone or something. Then I had to wash off the porcelain rolling pin. I suppose it could go in the dishwasher. And, get back to packing up 28 boxes of art. Many more have already been delivered to Valley House Gallery and the McKinney Ave. Contemporary. Somehow all these fit in our two cars, thanks to Adam the art sherpa who is driving with me to Dallas. The exhibit is finally happening, thanks to Rick Brettell. AND Rick Geyer, who has been my unpaid communications director for the last month. What would I do without you???


Pie Just Out of the Oven

Somehow I got into making cherry pies for the
Fourth of July, and that led to all sorts of other pies...
peach, chocolate, cranberry, pear, pecan, blueberry,
lemon, and any combination thereof. For a ceramic pie, you can't beat juicy cherries. I made one of those aluminum pie pans just because it'd show off the white gold. Some lumps of clay then became the filling so that the crust could drape over it in that lumpy way that crust does. Rolling out the porcelain crust and pinching it was exactly like using pastry dough, fun!

Because my upcoming show at the MAC is titled "The Porcelain Reformation", I'd been doing some reading on THE Reformation. When I came across a Last Supper by Lucas Cranach the Elder, it said "pie" all over it...the picture is circular and has a lot of red and beige in it. Martin Luther and his cohorts play disciples and they are serving each other wine, indicating the priesthood of all believers. There had to be a slice cut out of the pie so you can see the mess of cherries. So naturally I cut out Judas. Unfortunately Jesus and John had to go with him, since they were part of the same piece--John's head is on his lap and Jesus is putting bread into Judas' mouth. It should be encouraging to all of us that Judas got fed even though Jesus knew he was going to betray him. Mercy!
The pie needed something more, so how about a pie cutter thingey? It had to be a Cutco "Slice & Serve", since our goddaughter Grace sells Cutco. And painted on it is the wonderful Grant Wood at the Amon Carter Museum, called "Pastor Weem's Fable". Why? Well because it is about the young George Washington cutting down a cherry tree...which was a big fat legend. Story goes that Georgie's dad was merciful to him for admitting his indiscretion.

At the last minute I got really corny with it and added a pot holder that has the words and music to "Pie Jesu". I did not make that up. "Pie Jesu" means "merciful Jesus" or "Oh, Sweet Jesus", and is a common part of requiems. The one on this pot holder is a beauty by Gabriel Faure.
Thus, the title "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy"...and yes, you can hum along to the jazz tune by Joe Zaurinul (sp?). The pie has now taken its place in the warm kitchen in the November Chlora story, and she's looking for the missing piece at Thanksgiving dinner. That story will go online soon...and I will be eating humble pie!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ex Nihilo

Hooray! Got all the art supplies finished. Those itty bitty paint tubes gave me a neckache...but they were simple compared to the darned clay box. Who'd think cardboard would be so hard? The flaps on the box (modeled after MANY 50 lb. boxes I have purchased from Austin's own Armadillo Clay & Supply--great place, check it out!) ...well, the flaps had problems with gravity. But all is adhered now and here it is, called "Ex Nihilo"...out of nothing.

Along with the clay box, we now have a small turntable, after a metal one made by Amaco. On top is incised the labyrinth from Chartres Cathedral. A lot of carving went into these pieces--carving leatherhard porcelain is one of my favorite techniques.

The relief carvings on the ends of the cardboard box are from Andrea Pisano's medallions somewhere on the exterior of the Florence Duomo. Naturally, they are of the Creation of Adam and Eve, since this is a box of terracotta clay ("Longhorn Red" to be exact)...

The problematic cardboard flap has a sgraffito adaptation of the Hebrew Brickmakers, from the ancient Egyptian tomb of know those slaves hated clay as much as the Creator loved it. Here is an in-process shot and the finished one. The curly white thing is a clay cutter string, on top of the plastic bag of terracotta.

And the real killer was this rolling pin...six images deeply incised into stained clay...from the myth of Gilgamesh. These are liberally taken from ancient Sumerian cuneiform roller seals. Sort of like one of those springerlie (sp?) cookie rollers, you know, but here we have "Gilgamesh Repeating Himself." What more can I say, all that violence just comes back around...

So now the clay tools can join with all the paint stuff...for a table full of "What Art Supplies". In the MAC show, we'll add the typewriter and box of paper to the mix. Plus it'll be installed on a good-looking table by architect Gary Cunningham, without my living room in the background!